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Proposal to collect funds for AHB

A proposal for Environment Waikato to collect funding on behalf of the Animal Health Board (AHB) has been outlined in the council’s draft 2009-19 Long-Term Council Community Plan (LTCCP).

The recently released plan is out for public consultation until Friday 20 April.

It suggests that EW could collect up to $600,000 a year from rural ratepayers on the board’s behalf. The funding would be specifically used for the AHB’s Tb vector control programmes to stop pests spreading tuberculosis to cattle and deer in the region.

Up until the current financial year, EW collected from ratepayers generally a 10 per cent share of the work the AHB did in the Waikato. But the council stopped doing so this year to concentrate funding on regional pest projects, feeling it couldn’t expect all regional ratepayers to contribute to the AHB’s work.

But the AHB has been unable to secure an alternative source of funding and, along with farmer representatives, has asked EW to reinstate the so-called regional share.

Instead, EW is suggesting it set a differential targeted rate on the AHB’s behalf to rate those rural ratepayers who benefit from and necessitate the AHB’s work in the region. While the board could set and collect its own levy, EW has agreed it could collect money for the board to help the AHB save costs.

The council proposes this rate would be clearly identified on rates invoices as a "targeted rate for regional contribution to national bovine Tb vector control – collection on behalf of the Animal Health Board".

The differential to be applied in the rate’s collection would be based on land use, with 80 per cent of the rate to come from livestock properties and the rest from forestry, horticultural and lifestyle properties.

Under a preferred option in the draft LTCCP, livestock properties would contribute $1.74 per $100,000 of capital value, while non-livestock properties would contribute 95c per $100,000 CV. That would, for example, see:

· a 80 hectare dairy farm with a $3 million CV pay $52.20

· a six hectare, $1.2 million lifestyle block pay $11.40

· a 2500 hectare, $6.25 million forestry block pay $59.38.

"We are very keen to hear what ratepayers think of doing things this way," said EW chairman Peter Buckley. "I urge anyone with an interest in this matter to have their say."

Submissions on the draft LTCCP close on Monday 20 April. For details on how to make a submission you can visit www.ew.govt.nz(external link) or phone 0800 800 401. People can also use the submission form in the latest special issue of Envirocare magazine entitled "Your Waikato" which is being delivered to households around the region.

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